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Newton schools shutdown for second day amid teachers’ strike

Gabe Kolodner
Ryan Normandin, teacher at South and NTA member shares speech at City Hall rally, Monday, Jan. 22.

The Newton Teachers Association (NTA) strike is set to persist as the union and the Newton School Committee failed to reach an agreement on their prolonged contract disputes this past weekend.

During a nine-hour mediation and caucus session Saturday, Jan. 20, and Sunday, Jan. 21, the committee shared restructured proposals on parental leave, benefits, time on learning, and children of non-resident NTA members attending Newton Public Schools (NPS), according to an email sent out by Mayor Ruthanne Fuller. Agreements on these proposals are making very slow progress, according to Mike Zilles, NTA President, in a press conference following the session.

“There’s a lot of issues that we’ve put on the table that, across the state, local unions and their school committees are reaching agreements on,” said Zilles, “Newton seems to think that they can maintain an excellent school system while remaining in the dark ages in terms of what they are offering their teachers.”

Christopher Brezski, a School Committee member, said that with NPS’s current funding, “there is no universe where we can accept the contract [that the NTA proposed] and retain the staff necessary to satisfy our student’s needs.” 

Although, he added that he is dissatisfied with the level of funding for NPS, “I don’t think it has been what I wanted to see it be. The city’s funds are obviously a matter of priorities, and that’s the mayor’s prerogative.”

According to an email released by Mayor Ruthanne Fuller yesterday, “The School Committee has continued to improve its overall package to the NTA and has moved toward the NTA position on several important issues.” She added that the NTA continues to increase and change its requests.

Despite the Superior Court order last Friday, Jan. 19 to disavow the strike by Sunday, Zilles said that the NTA “will remain on strike until we reach an agreement.”

Negotiations are ongoing in the Education Center until 7 p.m. tonight. Following today’s mediation, Superintendent Anna Nolin will confirm whether or not school is canceled Tuesday, Jan. 23.

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Hannah Zizlsperger
Hannah Zizlsperger, News editor
Gabe Kolodner
Gabe Kolodner, Photo Managing Editor
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